I believe that mediation is the way of the future. Couples are generally more willing to comply with a solution they have agreed to themselves rather than have a third party dictate how they will conduct future important aspects of their lives. Mediation can also provide a sense of closure to a relationship that has gone sour.
The process of divorce is one of the most difficult times in life, and finding the energy to work toward a mutually cooperative agreement is sometimes impossible. We aim to help both parties work through the legal issues so that, on a going-forward basis, they can reasonably co-parent their children and divide their assets in an atmosphere that is cooperative with a professional who helps to deflate the emotions.
Mediation avoids the conflict of "you vs. me" polarization of the court system, because the divorce agreement is worked out and mutually agreed upon by both spouses. Mediation focuses more on solutions and the future.
Mediation is not intended to bring you and your spouse back together. The process of mediation helps draw up a plan for living apart; the mediator's job is to help each of you get on with your lives as separate individuals.
About the author of this California Divorce FAQ:
Julia M. Garwood is a family-law attorney and divorce mediator based in San Diego, CA.